PNP spokesman Brig. Gen Bernard Banac said they want to earn of the public back the public’s trust amid issues of integrity surrounding reports of police involvement in illegal drugs.
Michael Varcas
PNP working to win back trust of Duterte, public
Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - October 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is working to win back the trust of the public and President Duterte.

PNP spokesman Brig. Gen Bernard Banac said they want to earn of the public back the public’s trust amid issues of integrity surrounding reports of police involvement in illegal drugs.

The 190,000-strong national police force has come under fire after its former chief Oscar Albayalde was implicated in a controversial drug sting operation where millions worth of illegal drugs were allegedly recycled when he was provincial director of Pampanga in 2013.

Albayalde has since relinquished his office by going on non-duty status before he officially retires on Nov. 8. 

“The issue has really affected the police so we are making efforts to gain the trust of the public, questioning our credibility, ” Banac said in Filipino in an interview with dzBB. 

The Senate has found Albayalde liable for the 2013 anti-drug operation and recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against him.

Albayalde was succeeded by Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa as PNP officer-in-charge.

Gamboa, for his part, took it as a challenge to renew the President’s trust. Duterte said he was utterly disappointed and gave high-ranking police officials a dressing down during a meeting in Malacañang. 

Banac said some individuals may have expressed low morale following the controversies but said the institution still stands behind the President.

The PNP has since distanced itself from Albayalde and the 13 so-called “ninja cops,” saying they leave it to their respective legal teams to address their possible criminal indictment. 

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President would not meddle in the investigation of the Senate and would act on the recommendation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which is also conducting its own probe.

“Regardless of the findings, they (prosecutors) are the ones who will make the recommendation. Whether or not cases will be filed and the nature of the case filed against them will be the discretion of prosecutors that will assess the evidence,” Panelo said in a radio interview yesterday.  

“Whether they are guilty or not, that would be up to the court, assuming it would pass the level of prosecutors,” he added.

Panelo said those who think Albayalde and his former subordinates had committed wrongdoing are free to file cases against them. He said anyone who is into illegal drugs would be made accountable.

“If the President said they may be killed or ‘I will kill you,’ we know what he means. That means he will pursue to the ends of the earth those who are violators of the law and put them behind bars,” Panelo warned.

“If they have a case against them, they should file it. There will be hearings in the court if it passes the level of the investigators of the prosecution department,” he added.

Panelo said the ninja cops controversy would not derail the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“In fact if it will affect the war, it will mean it is successful because those who are involved in questionable operations are charged and if the court issues a verdict, they may be imprisoned in Muntinlupa,” he added.

Panelo said the findings of the Senate committees would not discourage police officers from conducting operations.

“The President said as long as they are doing what is right, ‘I will back you up. If you abuse your authority, there will be hell raised’,” he said. – With Alexis Romero

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